Jeff Suppan, a veteran of seven teams but best known for his 2006 NLCS MVP award with the St. Louis Cardinals, announced his retirement yesterday.
A second round pick of the Boston Red Sox in the 1993 draft, Suppan pitched in the bigs for 17 seasons, amassing a record of 140-146 with a 4.70 ERA, 1,390 strikeouts and 871 walks in 2542.2 innings. All but 31 of his 448 career games came as a starter. After spending the early part of his career in Boston he made stops in Arizona, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, another brief stop in Boston, St. Louis, Milwaukee, back to St. Louis and finishing his career in 2012 with the Padres.
Suppan gave a statement yesterday:
“After 17 Major League seasons, I’ve squeezed everything out of my ability,” Suppan said. “I am both honored and blessed to have played the game with some of the greatest teammates and coaches. Baseball will always hold a special place in my heart and I am looking forward to the next chapter of my life.”
To his credit, he probably squeezed more out of his ability than most guys of similar ability do, as his 17 years in the majors attest.
Tim Tebow isn’t letting go of his major league dreams just yet. The former NFL quarterback is slated to appear with the Mets during spring training this year, extending what initially looked like an ill-fated career choice for at least one more season. Per the club’s official announcement on Friday, he’ll join a group of spring training invitees that includes top-30 prospects like Peter Alonso, P.J. Conlon, Patrick Mazeika and David Thompson.
Tebow, 30, hasn’t taken to professional baseball as gracefully as expected. He batted a cumulative .226/.309/.347 with eight home runs and a .656 OPS in 486 plate appearances for Single-A Columbia and High-A St. Lucie in 2017. While that wasn’t enough to compel the Mets to give the aging outfielder a big league tryout, there’s no denying that Tebow brought substantial benefit to their minor league affiliates — in the form of increased attendance figures and ticket sales, that is.
Even after the Mets were booted from the NL East race last September, they resisted the idea of promoting Tebow for a late-season attendance boost of their own. That’s not to say they’re planning on taking the same approach in 2018; Tebow will undoubtedly get his cup of coffee in the majors at some point, but for now, a Grapefruit League tryout is likely as close as he’ll ever get to playing with the team’s big league roster on an everyday basis.